How to Prepare and Send Files for a Foolproof Offset Printing Process

By: Shawn Nag  |  Posted In: Print News  |  August 28, 2009

When you have sent your business files for printing, ranging from a simple business flyer to greeting cards, it is not only money that is being invested. The reputation and brand image of your company is also at stake, with the printed version of the documents representing your company wherever it is dispatched. Hence, knowing the basics to a foolproof sending of printing material is what often defines the fine line between success and failure:

File Application

Files, ready to be dispatched to the printing agency (or service bureau), should be checked for the version of applications they have been developed in. If the agency does not have the same version, an accurate print of your files would not be possible.


Agencies often reject files that have been developed in non-professional applications, such as MS Publisher (files which have a .pub extension). Professional software applications include the Adobe formats, Corel Draw and QuarkXpress applications. Make sure that you have not used such an application or have not upgraded to a newer version, while the agency is still using the older formats.


Font is another huge aspect that counts while trying to obtain perfect prints. Many companies and individuals use personalized font types, trying to provide style and suavity to the file. However, while sending files for printing, make sure they are accompanied by separate font files too, especially those used in the documents you intend to print.


This is important as many offset printing agencies only possess a set category of font types. Thus, if the font used in the documentation is not available to the printing agency, they may substitute the fonts with what they have. This can significantly ruin the whole look of the document, apart from altering formatting, text flow and indentations too.


Graphics is another factor that may influence how your printed files look like. Some points to keep in mind before you tinker with the graphics:


  • EPS and TIFF formats are the safest to use, else consult your printing agency or service bureau.


  • Do not compress the graphics or images.
  • Changing the names of the graphics files before re-linking is not advisable.
  • The original files, apart from the already embedded images/graphics should be sent to the agency for assistance in troubleshooting during the complete process.

Sending the Files

Keep a track of the following things before you assign the printing agency your project.

  • Make a detailed list of all the files, images and fonts that have been used in your files and send them to the agency.
  • All original artwork or photographs are to be sent to the agency for FPO placeholders.
  • Clearly indicate the areas where the agency is to pay special attention – including punch-lines, artwork in a brochure, contact details, etc.
  • Send a dummy or have a mock-print issued by the agency to check the obvious font or textual differences in the printed versions. Rectify accordingly.
  • Files can be sent through various channels – CD/ DVDs, zipped or compressed files or even through electronic or conventional mails.


Now that you know of the basics that would help you gather a great offset printing output, keep the aforementioned points in check while sending your files to the agency for printing.